Fans of the amazing HBO series Game Of Thrones were in an uproar this week over the use of Knicks star forward Carmelo Anthony in this 30 second ad spot to promote the season 3 first episode which aired last night March 31.
Fans of the immensely popular show took to forums, blogs, and such sites as Entertainment Tonight, The Stir, Pro Basketball Talk, NBC Sports, Business Insider, The Knicks Blog, Hot 97 and several other sites.
The ad was the idea of the ESPN in partnership with HBO, and directed by Zack Resnicoff. Resnicoff and the production company that produced the spot, addigitalproduction.com sent out a press release explaining the usage of Carmelo in the ad.
The spot, which was the brainchild of the in-house creative team at ESPN in partnership with HBO, was produced by ADDigitalwww.addigitalproduction.com and directed by Zack Resnicoff. ADDigital’s Executive Producer, Dan Klein remarked, “Tom Mooney and I were thrilled to get the call from ESPN to help bring to life their spot for HBO and ‘Game of Thrones.’ Working with powerful creative and superstar talent like Carmelo Anthony was a great chance for us to tap into the talents we are lucky to work with at ADDigital.”
Director Zack Resnicoff, Impressionista Films, who was brought on board by ADDigital, explains the connection, “From competition to family dynamics to epic power battles, there are clear parallels between any major sport and the themes present in ‘Game of Thrones.’ We wanted to play off the parallels and create a fun, dramatic, engaging piece that would reach an existing fan base, as well as, intrigue new potential fans.”
Resnicoff who heads up Impressionista Films, is best known for creating branded content films, such as his edgy spot called the chase with Hilary Duff for her DKNY ads also had this to say about including Anthony in the promo.
“Carmelo was great. I’ve shot a lot of sports, action, and cinematic projects. I work with a lot of celebrities so I understand how to maximize a short shooting time and how to work with non-actors. We knew Carmelo nail the basketball footage with the greatest of ease; our challenge was to be ready to shoot a lot with him in a very short period of time. So we were well prepared to get him doing what he does best and letting the cameras dance around him. I was really surprised at how well he handled the performance bits, specifically, the on-camera narration. He’s a natural and was able to give different reads of each line and it was clear he was striving to understand and deliver the intention behind each line. And of course I’m a big fan of ‘Game of Thrones.’ I work a lot with the production company ADDigital, so it was an easy pairing.”
The promo was shot February 25 in New York, and Resnicoff again added he was searching for a certain feel to the promo.
“We wanted a basketball court that had a more on-the-nose feel in terms of gothic architecture, such as the vaulted ceilings, stained glass and color palate, that reminded us of the tone of the show. The spot really is our homage to the show. We try to tie two distinct worlds together. We had fun bringing the actual throne used in the show on the court.” Shooting the basketball star in action on a basketball court was a natural fit for the shoot. Director of Photography, Igor Martinovic commented, “this was the fastest shoot I’ve ever done. It felt like camera was a defense player trying to catch Carmelo moving in a lightning speed and barely managing to capture flashes of his brilliance.”
I personally had no problem with the ad and thought it was kind of school. I can only assume that the die-hard Game Of Throne fans either found cheesy or insulting to see an NBA player promoting their show.
I’m definitely going to steer clear of the black guy with tattoos angle because I would hate to believe that a wonderful show such as Game Of Thrones isn’t allowed to have an NBA guy who watches the show promote the first episode of a brand new season.
I’m really interested in knowing what or who the true Game Of Thrones fans would have preferred promoting their show.